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My average ranking: 5.50
|Director Pantheon: Rintaro▲▼||Rating▲▼|
|Adieu Galaxy Express 999 (movie)||So-so|
Tetsuro is mostly an observer so there was little tension to keep me interested. He has done his growing up already so there's also no sense of him experiencing a right of passage. The Leijiverse heroes make their obligatory appearance as do a smattering of new characters but the encounters mostly come across as random adventures rather than valuable life lessons. The interventions of Emeraldas and Harlock are as contrived as ever but the mythic feel of the original is mostly absent.
Still, Maetel and Tetsuro are great characters so all is not lost. Kathleen Barr and Saffron Henderson, respectively, continue their fine work. One thing: the design and posture of Maetel comes across as slightly wooden compared with the earlier movie. I don't think the issue is the acting but, rather, it eminates from Japan.
I'm coming to the conclusion that Rintaro isn't much of a director. I think he fluked something special with Galaxy Express 999.
|Galaxy Express 999 (movie)||Excellent|
Young Tetsuro is travelling on the famous train to the planet of Great Andromeda, seeking a mechanical body so he can kill Count Mecha to avenge the death of his mother. Success seems unlikely but the gods and the fates are watching out for Tetsuro: the deus ex machina is hard at work. Help in the form of various intergalactic notables unfailingly pops up in timely fashion, getting him out of jams, giving him a handy tool, or providing the answer to a thorny problem. Captain Harlock, pirate queen Emeraldas, Tochiro and Antares are among the larger than life heroes who come to Tetsuro’s aid. These contrived internventions aren’t the problem they might be in an ordinary anime. This is not an adventure story about dramatic scrapes. It’s about the education of a young man who, through each encounter, learns about desire, loss and generosity. The lessons learned will hold him in good stead when he faces much harder tests.
Journeying with him is Maetel, who has an agenda of her own. At once beautiful and authoritative, wise yet vaguely menacing, melancholy yet kindly, she has immediately become one of my favourite characters in anime. Acting as a sort of surrogate mother to Tetsuro (something more true than he first imagines) she seems to bear the weight of the world on her shoulders. Well, she does in a sense, as the viewer learns at the end of the rail journey.
All the female characters have a sadness about them, even the commanding Emeraldas. Is this typical for Leiji Matsumoto? They are each unforgettable: Shadow, the machine woman guarding the lovely body she abandoned, or Clare, who was forced to exchange her flesh for transparent crystal, or Ryuzu, the singer who took on machine form at the request of her lover. Their exquisite, wispy forms perfectly reflect their wistful natures.
The combination of grandeur and melancholy ensure I have a continuous emotional engagement while watching Galaxy Express 999. It’s all in the mythical power of a journey undertaken by two special characters that becomes a metaphor for life with all its joy and regrets.
|Kimba the White Lion (TV 1/1965)||So-so|